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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Rumba Palace

Telarc CD 83662




1. A Gozar
2. Guarachando
3. El Huracan del Caribe
4. 21st Century
5. Sexy Lady
6. Peaceful
7. Having Fun
8. Arranca de Nuevo
9. Rumba Palace
10. Nouveau Cha Cha
Arturo Sandoval – Trumpet, bass trumpet, flugelhorn, bata, vocals
Felipe Lamoglia – Saxes, chekere, vocals
Tony Perez – Piano, keyboard
Armando Gola - Bass
Jason Carder – Trumpet (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Dana Teboe – Trombone (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Dante Luciani – Trombone (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Alexis 'Pututi' Arce – Drums, timbales, bata (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Tomas Cruz – Percussion, bata (tracks 1-5, 7-10)
Cheito Quiñónes, Sr. - Vocals. (tracks 1, 3, 7)

Arturo Sandoval never could resist showing off – and he still can’t. His astounding trumpet technique allows him to reach the parts that most other trumpeters cannot reach – hitting stratospheric notes that lesser trumpeters like Cat Anderson couldn’t manage. Right from the first track of this new album, he produces some ear-splitting sounds which can certainly impress but whose appeal can soon fade. Arturo is not alone – some of his fellow musicians on the CD are also show-offs, like the versatile Felipe Lamoglia, whose tenor sax solo on Guarachando is as dexterous and extrovert as his baritone sax solo on 21st Century, cramming in what sounds like a thousand notes per minute.

Sandoval calls this his "little Big Band" but it often sounds like a large big band. I suspect some overdubbing has taken place, as various musicians are credited with playing "2nd and 3rd trumpets" and "1st and 4th trombones". At any rate, this group packs a punch, with an undercurrent of Afro-Cuban percussion that keeps the pot simmering. There are quieter moments – like Peaceful, a tender ballad on which Sandoval’s muted tone recalls Miles Davis, and Arranca de Nuevo, a comparatively placid piece with Arturo on flugelhorn.

Three tracks have vocals by Cheito Quinones Sr., with the band joining in, and they steer the band towards the territory of the Buena Vista Social Club. They are pleasant enough but the lyrics are mystifying to those of us not schooled in what is presumably Spanish. It’s a shame that the words are not printed (with translations) on the sleeve. But primarily this album is a showcase for Arturo Sandoval, his excellent band and his incredible technique. It still excites me, but I remember playing an earlier Sandoval album to a trumpeter friend expecting him to be knocked out, and he dismissed it as over-the-top.

Tony Augarde


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